The Qatar General Electricity and Water Corporation (Kahramaa) has hiked the water and electricity charges with effect from September 2015.
Consumers were surprised to receive the "inflated bills" this month since there was no prior notification from Kahramaa about the increase. However, the September bill which the consumers received this month carried a note saying "The tariff has been revised from September 2015".
It is learnt the last hike in utilities' tariffs was effected in 2002.
When contacted, a Kahramaa official confirmed that the tariffs have been "revised" and said the revision was applicable across the state and to all establishments, including residential units like apartments and villas, restaurants and hotels, commercial enterprises, industrial institutions, farms, and government buildings.
Some of the customers who spoke to Gulf Times said they were shocked to find the sharp rise in their monthly utility bills. "Initially I thought the bill was so high this time as the corporation, as usual, had made some reconciliation to my outstanding arrears for the previous month. But I learnt about the increase after seeing the note below in fine print ," said a resident.
Similar comments also came from other residents.
According to a source, the water tariff which remained the same at QR4.40 per cubic metre for consumers big and small earlier has been replaced by a slab system whereby customers will be charged on the basis of their consumption.
Customers still have to pay only QR4.40 per cubic metre for up to 20 cubic metres of water. Those who consume more will have to pay according to the following slab: QR5.40 per cubic metre for 20 -50 cubic metres, QR6.40 for 50-100 and QR 7.40 for 100- 150 cubic metres.
For electricity also a similar hike has been effected. While the tariffs differed only after 4000 kwh earlier, now the minimum rate of QR0.08/kwh is applicable only to consumption up to 2000 kwh. Thereafter the revised rate of QR0.09/kwh will be charged up to consumption of 4000kwh. Those using more than 4000kwh, have to pay QR0.10 per additional unit. There are additional slabs for every 2000kwh.
It is understood that villa compounds and workers accommodations, mainly large labour camps, may have to pay more as the combined use of electricity and water in such places would attract higher rates than in individual residential units.
"Qatar has been supplying water and electricity at highly subsidised rates and Kahramaa has not effected an increase in tariff for over a decade. The process of desalination which is used to produce water in Qatar is very expensive and the revised rates are still hugely subsidised," an industry source said.